Sunday, December 11, 2011

Words Have Meaning

The English language is such a complex system!  While I attended graduate school for my Masters in Speech Science, I didn't think I was ever going to get through development of, or the system of our language.  It was definitely a love/hate relationship!  In those years, I learned words have meaning - in sooooo many different ways.

 My husband, to this day, tells my son on every consultative conversation they have: "Your words have meaning, son - make sure you are saying the right thing - you need to convey exactly what you mean"; or on every 'man-to-man' discussion, "Your words have meaning - make sure you don't hurt the person you are talking to. . .'

As the years keep moving by, I've realized (once again) how much language matters and how so very important it is to tell parents and the students I work with. . . words have meaning.
As baby develops, language and speech develop.  They learn (as a part of brain development) their sounds and voice convey a message because some noise always gets them noticed.  A caregiver knows the baby's language and speech are developing because they have learned that each message is evolving into something they understand!

Those individuals with a hearing loss, lose some of that information and lose it at varying degrees depending on onset of loss and degree of loss, but words still have meaning. . . . that doesn't change.
So I teach children and parents to convey that meaning early on. . . in varying situations. . . in a 1000 different ways.  As an activity is introduced within a therapy session, I always write in my notes how to use or implement at home.  From there, the parent and I brainstorm about how to incorporate into other areas of life, activities and/or language - because words have meaning.  i.e. 'up' - pick me up, let's go up, put up, pick up (noun vs. verb - think about it!), dress up, move up. . . it's exhausting! Of course start with what you do for the baby first, but think of introducing all those other language, speech, idioms as the baby gets older and is a child, tween, teen, adult!

Here is an example of the season; (bless their hearts) - a therapy session with three or four 2nd/3rd graders diagnosed with language/speech impairment secondary to hearing impairment.  We are going over holiday vocabulary and try to think of synonyms for particular vocabulary words.  The word 'Santa' comes up from the vocabulary deck - not one child realized; besides the word 'Santa Claus', that 'St. Nick', 'Jolly ol' St. Nick', or Nicolas are various words for Santa. They've heard the songs and read the words, but they just thought it was some man who liked the holidays!  Guess what the lesson turned into!

Words have meaning. . . . we want to give every opportunity to teach what we know and love - language! That being said,

May the meaning of the season mean all you want it to - and be a true part of your family's language.

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